by Rob Moran, published on July 23, 2015|
Following on from the US's recent same-sex marriage equality win (you know, that thing Australia's still embarrassingly, unbelievably lagging on) comes a new film focusing on the pioneering activists behind the movement.
Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page, is based on the true story of Laurel Hester (Moore), a New Jersey police officer diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, who was forced to battle in court to make sure her partner Stacie (Page) received her pension benefits after she died.
The film follows Laurel and Stacie's love story, from a meeting in a volleyball league to their determined court battle (supported by workmates, close friends and activist allies, played by, amongst others, Michael Shannon and Steve Carell) for basic, legal relationship rights. Hester passed away in February 2006, just weeks after the court reversed its stance and agreed to extend pension benefits to domestic partners.
Directed by Peter Sollett (Raising Victor Vargas, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist), Hester's story was previously covered in a doco of the same name, directed by Cynthia Wade, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short at the 2008 Academy Awards.
"It's not often in the movies that we get to talk about our heroes. And to me, Laurel Hester is a hero - I knew that as soon as I came to know her story," Sollett told Buzzfeed.
Page, who's also a producer on the film, echoed those sentiments in an interview with EW. "Tremendous love stories between women have been made, of course. Some of them are my favourite movies. But to have a love story that brings up the civil rights issue, in relation to women - that we haven't seen enough of in the forefront."
The film opens in the US in October.